The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Three Stars of the Week presented by Combat Hockey for the week ending September 18, 2011. The Three Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2011-12 regular season that honors the top performing players each week of the regular season as nominated by their respective teams.
1st Star: Jeff McMinimy, forward, Fresno Monsters
McMinimy, 19, had an NAHL Showcase for the ages in his NAHL debut. McMinimy led all scorers with 11 points in just four games including seven goals and four assists, as the Fresno Monsters were one of just three teams to finish the Showcase with a perfect 4-0 record. On Day 1, McMinimy, who hails from Flower Mound, Texas, had two goals, including the game-winner and an assist in a 4-2 win over the Topeka RoadRunners. The next day, McMinimy duplicated the exact same line in a 4-1 win over the Austin Bruins. The 6’0/175 lbs. forward chipped in with an assist in Fresno’s 5-4 win over Coulee Region on Day 3. However, he saved his best game for last, as on Day 4 he registered a hat-trick and an assist in the Monsters 4-3 win over New Mexico. “We are proud and happy for Jeff and the entire Monsters team for having a great weekend and we look forward to a fun and rewarding season," said Monsters head coach Eric Ballard.
2nd Star: Tony Kujava, goaltender, Janesville Jets
Kujava, 19, was phenomenal in goal for the Janesville Jets, backstopping them to the 2011 NAHL Showcase title. Kujava played in all four Jets games and allowed only three goals in that span. Kujava, from Green Bay, Wisconsin, shutout the Wenatchee Wild on Day 1 of the Showcase, stopping all 19 shots. The next day, Kujava made 28 saves in a 2-1 win over the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings. On Day 3, Kujava posted his second shutout of the Showcase, as he turned aside 27 shots in a 4-0 win over the Odessa Jackalopes. On the final day of the Showcase, he stopped 20 of 22 shots in a 4-2 win over then undefeated Kenai River to secure the Showcase title for Janesville. Kujava’s save percentage for the four games was 96.9% and his goals against average was a 0.75. “I thought Tony played very well. He has stayed patient and work his way into the starting role and his performance was a big reason behind our success at the Showcase,” said Jets head coach Dane Litke.
3rd Star: Chad McDonald, forward, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings
McDonald, 18, had a rookie week to remember as he led the expansion Jr. K-Wings to a 2-2 record at the Showcase. McDonalds six goals was second to only to McMinimy’s seven, and for the week he would finish with eight points in four games. After being shutout in the opening game against Austin, McDonald picked up an assist in a close 2-1 loss against Janesville, the eventual Showcase Champions. However, McDonald’s breakout game would come on Day 3 against Dawson Creek as McDonald scored an NAHL-high five goals including three power play and one shorthanded and also add an assist, in an 8-2 win over the Rage. The next night, McDonald would contribute again with another goal in a 4-2 win over the Bismarck Bobcats. “Chad had a great week at the Showcase and competed at both ends of the ice,” said Marc Fakler, head coach for the Jr. K-Wings. “He made his teammates and linemates better and was a major reason for our success.”
Other players nominated were (alphabetical): Jordan Bancroft, F, Janesville Jets – Brian Christie, F, Topeka RoadRunners – Perry DArrisso, F, Corpus Christi IceRays – Evan Janssen, F, Alaska Avalanche – Joe Kalisz, F, St. Louis Bandits – Joe Kozlak, F, Amarillo Bulls – Nick Kulmanovsky, G, Alaska Avalanche – Kyle Laslo, G, Traverse City North Stars – Frederick Leisner, G, Aberdeen Wings – Gabe Levin, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Max Milosek, G, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Zach Nagelvoort, G, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings – Robert Nichols, G, Wenatchee Wild – Donald Olivieri, D, Bismarck Bobcats – Jeffrey Pauluk, D, Fresno Monsters – Kody Polin, F, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – TJ Sarcona, F, Amarillo Bulls – Cory Ward, F, Aberdeen Wings – Dan Zawacki, F, Bismarck Bobcats.